Last year gCaptain was lucky enough to attend the inaugural Maritime Congressional Sail-In in Washington, D.C. and it was a truly unique experience
. This is a reminder that the deadline of April 15 is quickly approaching so those of you interesting in attending should register asap HERE
So how does it work?
You meet for a brief breakfast reception where you get split up into teams of 5-6 people from different maritime companies and organizations. From there, you spend the day in the House Office Buildings meeting with as many members of congress and/or their staffs as you can. The meetings are quick, anywhere from 10-30 (sometimes not at all), and the schedule can be crazy. You spend the time educating these people on the importance of strong U.S. maritime industry. Hot topics are the Jones Act and short sea shipping; basically anything built, owned and crewed within our borders. Afterwards there is a cocktail party overlooking the National Mall.
Last year our industry’s first broad-scale advocacy day on Capitol Hill was a resounding success. “The Sail-In was widely supported by the American maritime industry including international and domestic ocean carriers, terminal operators and labor unions. We had folks from 20 states, 48 congressional districts, 28 companies, 9 unions and labor organizations, and 10 related associations,” reported VADM Albert J. Herberger, a former U.S. Maritime Administrator and head of last year’s volunteer organizing group. “That’s a powerful message to Congress,” he added. And we plan to build on that success in 2011.
But The Stakes Have Gone Up
The 2010 mid-term elections brought significant changes to the congressional committees that oversee maritime issues. As a result, a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge and support was lost. A few quick examples:
- Three of the 4 most important House committee chairmen for maritime issues did not return to the 112th Congress.
- There are 20 freshmen members now on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
- More than a dozen members who were visited by our industry during last year’s Sail-In did not return to Congress.
And The Climb Has Gotten Steeper
The Sail-In is a powerful and direct way to protect and advocate for your job, your company or union, and the maritime industry as a whole. Participants will be actively engaged in the democratic process that the U.S. Constitution guarantees. It will be motivational and inspiring and attendees will leave Washington with a much better view of how government affects our industry and vice versa.
Like all government programs, the legislative struts that support the US-Flag maritime industry are under intense pressure in the new Congress. While we welcome that scrutiny and feel confident that our industry brings tremendous value to our nation, the maritime industry’s story is a bit complex (as it relates to policy) and must be told repeatedly.
So How Can You Help?
Come join us on May 4th on Capitol Hill and let your voice of support be heard.
This is a one-day event on Wednesday, May 4, 2011. The day starts at 8:00 a.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building (rooms B338/B339 – best accessed via the Independence Ave. entrance) for a breakfast and organizing session. You’ll be divided into teams of 5 or 6 with a leader (please see FAQs) and you’ll sit with your team at the breakfast. At 9:30 you’ll leave the breakfast for your meetings with members of Congress and/or their staff; all meetings will be prearranged. At lunchtime, from 12:00 Noon – 2:00, we’ll have a complimentary lunch buffet at the Capitol Hill Club (diagonally behind the Cannon House Office Building) or you can catch lunch in one of the cafeterias on the Hill – whichever is most convenient. Then in the afternoon you’ll have more congressional meetings for a total of 6 or 7 for the day. Finally, from 5:00 – 7:00 we’ll hold our closing reception in Room 1300 of the Longworth House Office Building (the Agriculture Committee Hearing Room) where it was held last year with members of Congress stopping by to mingle and say a few words from the podium. About two weeks out from the event, you’ll receive an email from Clint Eisenhauer of the event’s planning committee with more details, but, this, above, is the basic schedule for the day.
Click here to register for the event. There is no cost other than your travel expenses. Breakfast, a buffet lunch and a closing reception will be provided. Most of your questions can be answered by clicking on the frequently asked questions (FAQs). The sooner you can let us know that you’re coming the more helpful it will be. Thanks.
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